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Theresa May appoints UK’s first minister for loneliness
Tracey Crouch, former British Minister for Sport and Civil Society, has been named the country’s new Minister for Loneliness, partly in honour of Jo Cox, a member of the British parliament who was murdered by a far-right extremist just before the BREXIT vote in 2016.
The appointment, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, is aimed at tackling “the sad reality of modern life” affecting millions of people.
“For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” May said.
“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.
“Jo Cox recognized the scale of loneliness across the country and dedicated herself to doing all she could to help those affected.”
This was corroborated by the Jo Cox foundation, which tweeted: “Jo experienced and witnessed loneliness throughout her life, especially as a new student at Cambridge University and separated from her sister Kim for (the) first time.
“She would be delighted by Tracey Crouch’s new job as minister for loneliness and would be saying ‘let’s get to work!’”
The loneliness initiative is expected to come up with a strategy published later this year, with representatives from the national and local government, public services, the voluntary sector and private businesses, expected to make inputs.
According to the British Red Cross, over nine million people, out of the 65.6 million British population, are often lonely, a development it described as a “hidden epidemic” that affects people of all ages at various times in their life.
A research carried out by the organisation found that as many as one in 10 people felt lonely “always or often” and that hundreds of thousands of elderly people hadn’t spoken to a friend or relative in the past month.
In December 2017, Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, caused quite a stir in the nation when he named his biological sister Commissioner for Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment, which he said was in keeping with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.